July 24, Colombo: The Ministry of Wildlife and Regional Development is planning to use ten thousand members of the Army Volunteer Force to surround large scale rackets carried out in the forest reserves and bring the suspects to the custody while controlling the rackets.
The Minister of Wildlife and Regional Development Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka has held discussions at the Ministry on the plan to recruit the volunteer force troops to work in collaboration with the wildlife officers to control large scale rackets in forest reserves, the state Sinhala daily Dinamina reported.
Over the last few years, there have been operations of a number of large-scale rackets in over four thousand square kilometers of forest reserves in the country.
These rackets are still said to be continuing, especially, illegally cutting valuable trees for selling, killing elephants for tusks, stealing rare herbs and sending them overseas, killing of rare and endangered animals to send parts to overseas, alcohol rackets, illegal hunting and several other illegal activities.
Minister Field marshal Fonseka aims to completely control these illegal activities including felling trees to build houses and protect the forest reserves.
The Minister points out that the number of wildlife Officers under the Ministry of Wildlife is inadequate to control these large scale rackets and therefore, the Ministry has decided to seek the service of the members of the volunteer army force to take swift action against the criminal operations.
Accordingly a senior Army officer has said that the army is able to provide soldiers to for the purpose at any time.